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Active ageing in your golden years

active agingPhoto: Shutterstock

As you enter your golden years, leading an active lifestyle is paramount for you to stay healthy and independent, so you can continue to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

Besides the health benefits, basic physical exercises and activities help you maintain cognitive function and stay physically strong. These factors also play a role in reducing your risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal problems, anxiety, depression, certain forms of cancer and excessive weight gain.

However, do note that physical and mental abilities should be considered before you commit to an activity. If you are unaccustomed to being active, you should start slow (eg. taking a walk) to prevent over-exertion, before gradually reaching recommended levels. If you’re unsure on how to get started, consult a health professional.

Stay healthy and minimise sedentary behaviour by engaging in these types of activities:

1. Moderate fitness activities - for your heart, blood vessels and lungs


  • Brisk walking
  • Cycling
  • Aerobics
  • Tennis
  • Dancing
  • Mopping, vacuuming
The duration of these activities should not exceed 30 minutes. They can be done in two slots of 15 minutes or three slots of 10 minutes. For starters, you may start with a single 10-minute slot!

2.Strength activities - maintain bone and muscle strength

Attempt to incorporate some of these strength-building activities into your weekly routine, and try to do them at least twice a week.

Half squats (Repeat 8 times when you’re starting out, increasing to 15 when you’re more comfortable)
a. Stand facing a table with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding on to the table’s edge with both hands. Your feet should be facing forward.
b. Keeping your back straight, bend both knees slightly, such that your kneecaps cover the sight of your feet, before returning to an upright position.

Knee lifts (Repeat 8 to 10 times with each leg)
a. Sit on a chair while keeping your back straight.
b. Bend your knee and raise your leg towards your chest, holding it for a few seconds before lowering it down slowly.

3. Balance activities - improves balance and prevents falls

Set a specific time each day to do these exercises. They are simple and can be done concurrently while heating up your food in the microwave or answering a call.

Stand on one foot (Repeat 5 times, 10 seconds for each leg)
a. Stand beside the back of a chair or the kitchen table, and hold on if you need to.
b. Lift your left leg and stand for 10 seconds on your right leg. Repeat this 5 times.
c. If you feel stable enough, do it without holding on to the chair or try doing so with your eyes shut.

Heel raises (Repeat 8 times when you’re starting out, increasing to 15 when you’re more comfortable)
a. With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand beside the back of a chair or the kitchen table. Hold on to it with one hand, for support.
b. Slowly lift both your heels off the ground and rise up on your toes. Maintain this position for one second before lowering your heels back down.
c. As you progress, try to do the exercise without holding on to the chair, and with your eyes closed.